WASHINGTON — D.C.’s mayor ordered police to tear down fake fliers claiming to be from Immigration and Customs Enforcement encouraging residents to “see something, say something” regarding the presence of illegal immigrants.
The fliers, which were posted on poles overnight near the L’Enfant Metro Station, were titled “Sanctuary City Public Notice” and included the Customs and Border Protection hotline for people to report illegal immigrants.
All over my neighborhood in SW DC today. pic.twitter.com/HU9BwpW0ZW
— Balkans Bohemia (@BalkansBohemia) June 1, 2017
ICE issued a tweet saying the notices did not come from the agency:
— ICE (@ICEgov) June 1, 2017
“The immigration enforcement notices appearing across Washington D.C., were not issued or sanctioned by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” ICE spokesperson Carissa Cutrell said in a statement. “Just like false reports of immigration checkpoints or random sweeps, notices like these are dangerous and irresponsible. Any person who actively incites panic or fear of law enforcement is doing a disservice to the community, endangering public safety and the very people they claim to support and represent.”
Mayor Muriel Bowser said her office contacted D.C. police and the District’s Department of Public Works to tear them down.
“And a reminder that we respect all DC residents no matter their immigration status,” she tweeted. “Washington, DC remains a sanctuary city.”
D.C. police tweeted reaffirmation of their longstanding policy that “prohibits officers from asking re citizenship/residency status to determine documentation.”
“It is the mission of the Metropolitan Police Department to safeguard the District of Columbia and protect all its residents and visitors with the highest regard for the sanctity of human life,” states the department’s explanation of policy. “Our immigrant community is a vital part of the fabric of our city. MPD is strongly committed to communicating with all our immigrant populations regardless of status, by building trust, and safeguarding them and the broader community.”
Department policy states that officers are not allowed to “question any person about residency or immigration status, unless the police officer is investigating any crime in which immigration status is relevant” such as trafficking or harboring of immigrants, and they may not “inquire through any database solely for the purpose of getting information about an individual’s immigration status.”